Baby Ostriches: All You Need to Know

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At 2.1 to 2.8 m (6 ft 11 to 9 ft 2 in) in height and 150 kg (23.5 stone), the ostrich is unquestionably the largest and heaviest bird in the world. Given that ostrich eggs are the largest eggs of any animal in the world—the world record egg weighs 2.589 kg (5 lb 11.36 oz)—this may not come as a surprise.

Ostriches are well-known for their size, weight, and sprinting prowess, but what about their chicks? Everything you need to know about newborn ostriches, including their size and behavior, will be covered in this article. Along the road, there will be a ton of pictures of newborn ostriches!

What does an ostrich chick look like?

Ostrich hatchlings have long necks and fat, ovular bodies at birth, which is at least how they resemble adults in form. The majority of their body is covered in tiny, spiky, beige feathers, which give their plumage a considerably lighter color. The necks of baby ostriches are distinctly striped, with deeper brown specks.

How large do young ostriches get?

The fact that ostrich chicks are the largest of all chicks—measuring around 25 cm (10 in) in height and weighing between 1 and 1.2 kg (2 and 2.6 lb)—probably won’t surprise you.

Because of this, ostrich chicks are larger than many adult birds and about the size of a small chicken! After hatching, the chicks remain mostly inactive for a day or two until learning to walk on days two or three. At that time, they begin to chase after their parents and each other.

What is the weight of a baby ostrich?

With an average weight of 1 to 1.2 kg (2 to 2.6 lb), ostrich chicks are by far the heaviest of all bird chicks.

In contrast, a young ostrich weighs 50 times more than a baby chicken, which weighs just around 30g! They also develop quite fast, taking about a year to reach adult size. This indicates that they develop by around 30 centimeters per month and reach the 70-kilogram milestone in about six months. An adult ostrich at full growth may weigh up to 156.8 kg (346 lb).

What appearance do young ostriches have?

That depends on whether the youngster is male or female. By the time they reach sexual maturity, male ostriches get jet-black plumage, while female ostriches keep their lighter, more dull feathers.

Over time, the adolescent male ostrich gradually loses its lighter brown, shaggy feathers and develops deeper black or almost black feathers on its huge wings. They will stay lighter in color and speckly throughout most of the year. Ostrich legs and necks are both lighter, and more neutral in color while they are young, but they become pink as they get older.

The plumage of female young ostriches will continue to be a sand-like beige, much like that of juvenile ostriches.

What’s the name of an ostrich chick?

A chick is the common term for an ostrich baby. Baby ostriches that emerge from the egg are referred to as hatchlings, then nestlings while they are within the nest, and finally fledglings when they are outside.

Within days after birth, ostrich chicks, unable to fly, fled, leaving their nest and beginning to follow their parents on foot.

What’s the name for a clutch of young ostriches?

Usually, an ostrich brood is a collection of young birds. A herd is the common term for a collection of young or mature ostriches.

What feeds the young ostriches?

Large volumes of yolk are absorbed by baby ostriches from the yolk sac of their eggs, which typically provides them with nourishment for up to a week.

They will start to walk at this time and start to follow their parents or other adult ostriches who will lead them to food so they may forage. Infant ostriches feed themselves on instinct; there is no parental feeding involved.

Ostriches are omnivorous birds that eat a variety of plant foods, meat from arthropods and insects, small rodents, reptiles, snakes, and most other nutrient-rich items found in their challenging habitats. Ostrich chicks will follow their parents’ lead, who will peck at edible food and use vocalizations to get their young to eat.

Are the young ostriches fed by both parents?

Not at all, however, the parents do lead them to food and eat with them.

Through cries and vocalizations, the parents also urge the chicks to eat. Parenting may not necessarily come from the biological parents, however, since ostrich chicks tend to form communal creches of forty or more birds, with one or two adult ostriches taking on the role of parent for the whole group.

How are the chicks fed by ostriches?

After about a week or two, ostrich chicks feed themselves on instinct rather than on the active feeding of their parents. Within days after birth, ostrich chicks learn to walk and follow their parents, mimicking and watching their eating habits.

Ostrich babies and juveniles grow very fast—roughly 30 centimeters per month—and can eat food meant for adults after about a month or two.

What appearance do ostrich eggs have?

Let’s start with the fact that ostrich eggs are the largest in the animal world, weighing up to 2 kg. They have a glossy white to cream color, measure around 15 cm (6 in) in length and 12.5 cm (5 in) in diameter, and have very thick shells with tiny pits.

Ostriches use communal nests that hold around 20 eggs, and both men and females share incubation. Usually, the male incubates the eggs at night, blending into the darkness with his black plumage, while the female incubates the eggs during the day, blending into the sand with her dull beige plumage.

In communal nests, the dominating hen of the flock known as the “major hen” is often the one incubating the eggs, however this might change as the incubation time progresses. There is still much to learn about the intricate hierarchies of ostrich breeding, especially with regard to the more uncommon Somalian ostrich.

What is the hatching time of ostrich eggs?

The incubation time for ostrich eggs is 42 to 46 days, which is longer than usual for a bird in a warm area. This is probably due to the enormous size of the eggs, but it’s also possible for nighttime ground temperatures to drop dramatically and ostrich nests are not well insulated.

What is the number of offspring of an ostrich?

Because of a system that gives priority to the dominating “major hen,” who often lays the first eggs, ostrich egg laying is complicated. In addition to laying the most eggs—up to ten—the major hen places her eggs in the center of the nest most of the time.

Other hens will usually lay four to six eggs, with a maximum of around twenty eggs per nesting hole. Two to five hens will share a nest. It’s a little unclear how and why this hierarchy is constructed.

After hatching, ostrich chicks are raised by the parents of each individual brood, although they may also create communal creches with up to 40 birds under their care. They may be at the creche in their own flock at times, or they may be there with their parents.

Parental conflicts may happen and one parent’s children may end up with another set of parents. Ostrich parents have sometimes been reported to have about 300 chicks as a consequence of these interactions. Though the data is not as strong, Somali ostrich reproductive practices are assumed to be comparable to those of Common ostriches.

Ostriches deposit their eggs when?

The ostrich mating season often coincides with the onset of the rainy season, which occurs in East Africa from June to October and in South-East Africa and Kenya from March to April or August to October. In some areas, breeding has also been seen throughout the dry season.

For what duration do young ostriches remain with their parents?

After spending about two months with their parents, ostrich chicks become somewhat independent, although they stay with the same flock, or herd until they are around a year old. It has been shown that ostrich chicks may stay in touch with their parents for up to a year.

For part of the day, ostrich chicks will follow their parents, but they sometimes gather in communal creches with 20 to 40 newborn birds under the watchful eye of a lone male or a male and a female. With their massive wings, the adult supervisors shield the chicks from the sun while also protecting the birds from predators.

Although creche behavior is uncommon in birds, some penguins, flamingos, terns, and eiders also have chicks that nest in creches.

When the majority of other adult ostriches are searching for food, water, etc., creches often develop. Large broods of hundreds of birds may form from merging creches, and it’s sometimes unclear whether mismatched parents affect the chicks’ development or if it really matters as long as the birds are kept under human care.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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